This past weekend I was set to run a 4 mile race which had been rescheduled. Austin and I decided last minute to opt for the 10 miler instead. I figured this was a good time to test my racing pace and to judge where my fitness was, since I have the upcoming Diva’s Half Marathon at the end of April. I set out to run this race with one of my faster running friends. I knew she could hold me to a higher pace, but I also had demons in the back of my mind saying I was bound to have a panic freak attack. The night before the race, I had to work until almost midnight. So, I was terrified my legs were going to be too tired and worn down to carry me to any sort of PR. But, I knew I had a PR no matter what since this was my first attempt at the 10 mile race distance.
The morning started out fairly uneventful. It was very difficult for me to get out of bed, as per usual, and had my cup of coffee in bed. I got dressed in Nike tempo shorts and my compression sleeves. Now that I have started running hills my compression socks and sleeves have become so important to me. I don’t think I could race without them. We lined up for the race and off we went. I made it a point to put my sleeves over my watch so I couldn’t look at my pace and freak out if I was going too fast. The first mile was up a long gradual incline. Ouch. I was already feeling that I had made a mistake about signing up for the 10 miler. This was not the last time I would think this way in the race. We finished mile one, 9:46. Not too bad, but I wasn’t aware of my pace at this point. I tried to focus on my breathing and remember things I have learned in my runner’s yoga classes. In times of cardiac distress focus on your pacing of breaths. So, for the next mile I decided to focus only on breathing. Nothing else. Finished mile 2, 9:21. At this point, I was aware my body was moving a little faster than it was used to. I thought of the 8 more miles I would have to run before I could stop and had a momentarily freak out. Then, gave myself an attitude adjustment and pushed on. Mile 3 was through a greenway so it was flat and nicely shaded. The weather was perfect for running and I was so thankful I had made the decision to wear shorts. Mile 3 flew by, 9:08. What? Who am I? Mile 4 was my mile I allowed my thoughts to take over. I welcomed the doubts and what if’s and decided that I could no longer push these thoughts out. I thought about failure and the possibility of quitting this race and decided this would be the only mile I would think about this for the remainder of the race. Mile 4, 9:36. Mile 5 was a turning point for me. I saw my pace and realized I was doing great. I, for the first time, realized I am capable of running fast. I am capable of so much more than I have given in the past 3 half marathons. Mile 5, 9:36. Mile 6 brought a hill and a little walking break to get my music right. I listened to Aloe Blacc, The Man on repeat for 2 miles. Mile 6, hill and walking break included, 9:47. Mile 7 was mostly greenway and flat. It even brought a few downhill bouts that I was happy to have. I felt that on flat ground I could run at this pace forever. Maybe that is a good omen for Diva’s. Mile 7, 8:58. This was the first time I have ever seen a sub 9-minute mile on a split. Let alone 7 miles in!? Whaaaat!? This gave me a huge confidence booster. Mile 8-9 brought about the biggest set of hills I have ever encountered in my running. Mile 8, 9:51. Mile 9 was two back to back hills that I walked up both sets. Mile 9 is also where I saw Austin come back to finish the run with me. This will always be my favorite part of racing. Seeing him come back for me after he has already run and finished his own race. I love to take my mind off what I am doing and hear about his finish. He placed 6th in the race and first in his age group. He tells me the worst is behind us and this prompts me to quickly kick it into gear. Mile 9, 11:08. Ouch. Those hills were the death of this mile. The last mile, Austin runs beside me. It is, as promised, all downhill. I can see the finish line and kick it into a pace I have never see from myself before and sprint across the finish line. Mile 10, 8:55.
This was by far the fastest time I have ever done. I crossed the finish line in 1:35, with a 9:30 pace overall. That puts me on target with a 2:05 half marathon (30 minute PR!). My 10K PR was shattered, by almost a full 4 minutes. I am so proud of myself and the leaps and bounds I have made in the past few months of my running. This race helped me decide that I am going to shoot for a PR at Diva’s. I am capable physically of running a 2:10 half and know one day I could do a sub 2-hour half marathon.